Cool Stuff I Like


December 7, 2012

Hi friends! Let the Christmas o' Pink continue! Exciting things are afoot. My cold is nearly gone. I only blew my nose twice yesterday. Our trees (there are two!) are up, and I'll show them to you next week. We did something kind of crazy with our tree this year. Also next week: my wedding anniversary! And a fun celebration of St. Lucia (or what I call, Scandinavian Holiday Fun Day) on Dec. 13 that I'll be linking to over at Audrey Electric. In my heart, I'm Swedish/Finnish/Norwegian/or maybe a MOOMINTROLL, so I'm very excited about all of this.

COOL STUFF that made me happy this week:

Got this Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe pack awhile back, and the playdoh looks like funfetti! Good stocking stuffer.

Cinnamon and Ginger tea with persimmons.

This made me laugh and laugh. And laugh some more.

Beautiful wrapping!

Snap Circuits. (these look AMAZING)

Magical Reindeer Food!

Glitter Ball Cookies!

Sunny Christmas.

A gift guide where everything is $10 or under.

Cool Book of the Week: I reviewed a book last year called 'One Red Apple'. The art was enchanting. So I was excited to see the same author/illustrator duo had done this holiday book called 'Hanukkah Haiku'. I saw it at the library and it was SO PRETTY I quick stopped in my tracks. (Very Junie B. language eh? Julia's on a huge Junie B. Jones kick right now.) The book is laid out as a poem, detailing the elements of the Hanukkah celebrations, with blessings written in English and Hebrew. It's absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous!

Hanukkah Haiku
Have a lovely weekend! Julia and I have been going through the Christmas cookie recipe box my aunt gave us a few years ago. I think it's officially Cookie Time. Although I feel tired already at the prospect of the annual fight Andrew and I will be having over sugar cookies ~ to frost, or not to frost. (I vote frost, because I have more than a modicum of sense.)


Elf Baby


December 6, 2012

So I was wandering through picture files the other day, and I stumbled across pictures of baby Julia during her first holiday season. And I knew I had to share. Because I'm on a mission of spreading the cute.

These photos just slayed me at the time and they still do. She looks just like some kind of little elf.

Elf-ling. Elf-kin. Elf-ette. Elf-a-roo.

You know what else is just crazy adorable? 'Baby Elf's Christmas'. Doesn't the little elf look just like baby Julia??

Baby Elf's Christmas
Baby Elf's Christmas
I've seen this book and in person and I was going to get it for my baby nephew but I didn't because I was in a hurry and now I'm so bummed at myself because it is SO DARLING. A mini board book and just the sweetest book ever for Tiny Tots. LOOK AT THE LITTLE EARS!!!

OMG I have to go get this for my nephew.

Some Pink for Christmas


December 5, 2012

I am here to tell you all that I have felt and experienced true winter coziness, and it comes in the form of PINK flannels with snowpeople on them. Two years I waited for these flannel sheets from Garnet Hill for the little missy's bed. The first year they were all sold out. I thought I would be a tricky trickster and get them on sale. So much for being tricky. The second year I pounced as soon as I saw that they were available again. This year, there are no snowpeople, but there are darling penguins!

Whenever I need an infusion of cozy, I dive into my daughter's bed and snuggle her sheets. At some point, I'm thinking this will stop being ok with her. Her sheets and her's like being surrounded by a warm pink marshmallow. 

Am I the only one on the planet who feels like PINK (everytime I say it, it's gonna be all caps) is a good winter, Christmas color? I'm returning some twinkle lights I got at the drugstore because there are no pink twinkle lights on them. The best twinkle lights have a few pinks thrown into the mix.

(Got some cute Hello Kitty candy to send as a Christmas present to a good friend's little girl)

The kiddo's been sporting lots o' pink lately. I really didn't intend for there to be a pink theme today, but sometimes PINK JUST HAPPENS. I am so excited to try this peppermint cakey mix and it comes in a pinkish box, which mean it has to be good right?

Christmas is not just a big countdown to Christmas day, in my mind. I mean, it IS, but the thing I really love about Christmas is that I feel like it begins on December 1 and it's just one big fiesta o' fun until New Year's. Christmas Day isn't even the best part for me. The best part is that week between Christmas and New Year's. The mad scramble has ended but everything is still lovely and Christmasy and there are TOYS and BOOKS and MOVIES and leftovers, and it's just a whole ball of wonderfulness.

Yes, here is my favorite winter mug again. Have I successfully convinced you of the mountain of awesome that is Cost Plus?

Has pink ever just spontaneously happened to you?

PINK CHRISTMAS!!! It's happening.

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus


December 4, 2012

_DSC0060OH FRIENDS. This is special. I’m ready to get down to brass tacks. I’m not fooling around with my Christmas biz this year. I’m laying it ON YA. I have a book of specialness. A change-your-life special. An imprint the size of a Yeti’s foot across childhood special.


And Julia’s not ready for it, not even close. But I was given this lovely edition of L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus’ last year (my old one was a paperback), and for those of you with kids 8 and up…PLEASE. Just…please. Don’t let this pass you by. Actually, anyone who reads this blog, no matter how old your kiddo is, you need to have this book on your shelf. You can pull it down and taunt your littles with it. “See this? You can read it when you’re bigger.”

I have a thing for L. Frank Baum. OZ??????????? I read EVERY SINGLE OZ BOOK. Even the ones that were written by other authors, like Ruth Plumly Thompson. Ok, I’m lying again. I haven’t read every single one. BUT ALMOST.

And almost is good enough, right? I’d make an awesome athletic coach.

_DSC0066_DSC0064I “knew” about Santa when I read this as a wee lassie.  Catch me? Made no diff to me in terms of my enjoyment. Here was a whole history, laid out in great detail, about how Santa became Santa. It was so far afield of what I had traditionally thought, I was like, whoa this is so radical.

(my 9 yr old self didn’t actually say ‘this is so radical’.)

Knooks. Ryls. The Master Ax-Man of the Woods (he’s nice). Fairies. The flipping MANTLE OF IMMORTALITY. Aw-YEAH.

_DSC0069_DSC0062_DSC0070The story is divided in Santa’s youth, adulthood, and old age. He lives in the Laughing Valley. His adoptive mother was a fairy. Actually, she’s a wood nymph, if we want to be accurate. The Master Woodsman is his mentor and protector.

What else…oh. SANTA IS A BADASS. He has to face the Awgwas, who want to kill him. That doesn’t end well…FOR THE AWGWAS. The magical creatures of the forest poke them with thorns and they bleed out on the plains. And then thistles grow. I’m not joking. Also, that Master Woodsman? Yeah his ax comes in handy in vanquishing the King of the Awgwas. I believe the exact phrase is “cleft the wicked King in twain.”

CLEFT IN TWAIN! That’s what you get for threatening Santa.

You see why this is for 8 and ups? Actually, I don’t know, I can totally see Julia digging this concept. “What’s cleft in twain?” “Cut in half.” “Oh.”

_DSC0077_DSC0079_DSC0078This hardcover edition, oh my stars, it’s a vision! You can also find it used here. Or you can find it new here, for a great price, with a different illustrator.

What’s crucial is that you have the book. This one I’ve shown you is great and all, but all I had was this paperback and I loved it with all of my being. It’s a truly great, and wholly complete imagining of Santa’s life, his world, and how he came into being, written by a true Kid Lit great. How would the man who invented the world of Oz portray Santa? This book is how.

PicMonkey CollageI read and re-read this book so many times, I can't even remember how many times I read it. It’s in my all time favorite Top 10 Childhood Books. You cannot let this story escape you. Ready, set…GO GET THIS ONE.

Bits of Cheer


December 3, 2012

(the stars were lonely. they needed some friends.)

Well, as you can see, THE STICK TREE just won't go quietly into the night.

For you sharp eyed sharks out there, you may (or may not) have noticed that the teeny stick tree on my mantel is not THE stick tree that has been the proud harbinger of our holiday decor this past year.

THIS stick tree is the first cousin of THAT stick tree. It's the cousin that has moved to Hollywood and undergone some extreme thinnification.

I'm not done. Not by a long shot. The trees aren't here yet. This year, TWO TREES. A full size tree in the living room and tiny table top tree in the kitchen. I am CRAZY WILD about tiny table top trees. I had one for years and years and years before Miss J was born. And then we thought well, we gotta have a big tree because that's what one does when you have children. And it's very nice and whatnot.....

.....but it's not my table top tree.

There's just something so CHARMING (why am I SHOUTING today, SO MUCH) about table top trees. I think we're getting trees on Wednesday.

So trees are coming, I'm wrapping my stairway with garland for the first time and things will get greener and piney on the mantel.

Also, LIGHTS IN A JAR. If you don't have lights in a jar, you are missing out on the easiest, most jolly, and fun and awesome and delightful and charmingest holiday decoration in the known universe! But you know, to each their own. You can put whatever color you like in your jar. No one will stop you. You can even do MULTICOLOR. I got this idea from Jenny of MFAMB. I would like to write a little ode to Jenny someday. How about now? She's one of the funniest, one of the most talented, most hilarious (that's even better than funny) and one of the awesomest bloggers I've come across in all of blogland. She's happy to discuss poop, which is ALWAYS a plus in my book. Sometimes I bum myself out because I realize that I've boxed myself in about certain topics that Should Not Be Discussed on a primarily Kid Lit blog. So then I go and make comments on Jenny's blog and feel happy that I have a Safe Place to discuss my poop. I love you Jenny!

(also, writing blog posts after taking Dayquil for terrible terrible colds is probably something one should refrain from doing, maybe. Also, Dayquil should NOT be taken during the day. Or ever.)

It's DECEMBER, yo!


December 2, 2012

Let's get this party started. Actually its already started! I began about a week ago!

You guys need 'Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury', if you haven't seen it or don't already have it. Full of detailed, beautiful color from Jan (aka The Wizard of intricate art), Scandinavian scenery and folklore....

...and CHRISTMAS TROLLS. Hot dog, I'm obsessed with Christmas trolls! (also, there are hedgehogs. Julia loves the hedgies!) This one is a Must Have.

On the first day of Christmas....


December 1, 2012

The big present is this book. It's as great as I hoped it would be!

They appear larger in the picture, but most of these Advent treats are the tiniest! An inch long! Coins, candy, stay up late notes, and little games from the dollar bin at Target, plus a few trinkets I picked up from Hawaii, when I was there a couple of weeks ago. I seem to recall stopping in the Hello Kitty store to get some candy. *cough*

Some of the other treasures: Hair clips, hot cocoa packets, a candy cane, a little glass animal, a Hot Chocolate flavor Pop Tart with marshmallow filling. I don't usually go for such fare, but sometimes when a Pop Tart beckons, you have to answer the call. I tried to keep things tiny, consumable and not anything that was going to increase the amount of plastic junk in the house. Or spoil Miss J any more outrageously than she already is. 

I had so much fun wrapping all of these tiny treats! 

(So in love with my wrap! Cost Plus, my elvies. THE BEST place ever.)

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